tv Today in Washington CSPAN March 23, 2010 2:00am-6:00am EDT
stay tuned for center mendez -- center mendez -- senator menedez and a special surprise guests. >> it is good to be back. a coalition of more than 200 national organizations working to build an america with good as it's ideal. today, we want you to know that you are not alone. the entire civil -- civilized community stands with you, because the principle behind a comprehensive immigration reform movement is the same principle that has guided every civil and
so many young leaders who are part of this march. thank you for standing for the future of america. thank you. like all of you, we believe in the promise of america. like you, your parents, and your grandparents, they risked everything to bet their families' future on the american dream. so that people could make a better life for their family. that is why we stand for economic justice and that is why we must have immigration reform now. our african-american brothers and sisters took a stand here in
washington before. they continue to fight to keep the dream alive. that is why we are inspired. that is why we are here, united to win opportunity for all america's families. so we can powerfully say, "i am my brother's keeper." that is the message we want to capture today. members of congress have stood with us today, but we need more of them. we need more of their leadership and career choice of the weekend get the solution that america needs and fulfil the promises made. the time to stand up and be counted is now.
[applause] >> it is my great privilege to introduce to you someone who is the son of immigrants and the only latino voice in our united states senate. he is a champion for american families. join me in welcoming the great leader, senator bob menendez. >> i look out on this sea of hope, brothers and sisters marching for what is fair and right for the economic health of america and for family unity in our nation.
we are here in the shadow of america as monuments to freedom and justice to save, "america, we have given you our blood, sweat and toil and now we demand our human dignity." for too many families have been torn apart. the children have been torn from their mothers' arms. fathers have been deported. their fight is the civil rights issue of our time just as the civil rights movement of the 1960's we know that the contributions undeniable. the first soldier to fall in service to this country in iraq was a latino who was not even the united states citizen -- a united states citizen.
the crude that we had for breakfast this morning and was probably picked by an immigrant worker. if we have a sick individual in our family, they are probably being tended to by the warm heart and the steady hand of an immigrant aid. we cannot wait to bring them out of the darkness and into the light. we cannot wait to reunite families and we cannot wait to read the economic benefits of comprehensive immigration reform. [speaking spanish]
right for people in our country. we need reform that strengthens our economy by making employers stop exploiting immigrants and we can have immigrants pay their fair share of taxes, learn english and be good citizens. we need to strengthen our security. we need reform but protect the dignity of all human beings that call this great country home. i have a surprise for you. [speaking spanish] someone who has marched in rallies like this one in the past. someone who has been on the side of fixing our broken immigration system.
he is a man that understands that this is the civil rights issue of our time and he is someone that we expect to make this happen. ladies and gentleman, the president of the united states. >> hello and welcome to washington. real change does not start in the white house or the halls of congress. it starts with people like you in communities all across this country, standing up and making your voices heard. four years ago, i joined many of you at a march like this one in my home state of illinois. today, we remember and other senator that stood with you.
this march would make ted kennedy crowd. i know that his spirit is with us as we continue his life's work to bring about real comprehensive immigration reform for our country. his commitment to the cause never wavered and neither does my. i have always pledged to be your partner as we work to fix our broken immigration system that is a commitment that i reaffirmed today. nobody knows the cost of an action better than you. doocy it in families that have been torn apart. -- you see it in families that have been torn apart. you see it in the workers and the officers. that is why there is a growing coalition of law enforcement officials and members of labor and business sectors that understand that immigration reform is critical to our security and our prosperity. in the end, are broken
immigration system affects more than a single community. it affects the country. we need to have an immigration system that works, not the broken system that we have now. that is why i ask members of our team to move the legislative process forward. since then, they had met with elected officials from both parties and stakeholders from all across the country. we have worked together with senator schumer and senator gramm to develop a framework includes common sense and effective strategies to protect our borders and in force the law while creating a path to citizenship. i congratulate senator schumer and senator gramm for their leadership and i pledge to do everything in my power to forge a bipartisan consensus on this important issue. you know as well as i do that this will not be easy. but if we work together across
party lines, we can build the future worthy of our history as a nation of immigrants and a nation of laws. thank you, so much. [speaking spanish] tomorrow morning, -- >> tomorrow morning, edward berkowitz will join us and after that, a look at the u.s. education system with the education secretary, duncan. washington journal is at 7:00 a.m. eastern.
later, the president will sign the health care bill after the house passes the measure. we will have that live on c- span at 11:15 a.m. eastern. passage of health care live discussion was the main topic at the white house briefing press secretary robert gibbs announced that president obama will travel to iowa on thursday to promote the contents of the bill. the senate will act on the legislation. this is about 55 minutes. >> now what? [laughter] >> now we wait for everyone to take their seats. [inaudible]
>> the white house wanted this bill passed. you talk about -- how do you talk about health care now that it is passed? >> i think the president has been working on the economic recovery every day he has been in office. we know that the president signed a bill just last week to provide tax credits for small businesses. that is highly important and we will continue to talk about that going forward. there are aspects -- zero capital gains for small businesses, direct proposals that the president has made that
he also wants to see go to congress. thursday the president will visit iowa city, where he outlined the grassroots health care reform plan and 2007 and he will have a chance to talk about what this legislation means for the small businesses that i was talking about, for families, children who are labeled by insurance companies to suffer from a pre-existing condition, and to talk about what this means for seniors who will finally -- finally get help covering the cost of the power grid -- the prescription drug that happens to fall into what is commonly known as the down not alld -- donut hole. the president has a very busy schedule coming up. a whole host of issues. i assume the president will talk about health care for a long time. but the president has over the course of the past few weeks,
even as the legislative agenda has been focused on health care, you will see that he has been working on a number of other issues that are at the forefront and we will have an opportunity to talk about it. >> a lot of democrats switch their votes -- politically dangerous but for themselves. what kind of support are they receiving from the white house? >> i think there is no doubt that the political schedule is in front of us. as it relates to health care reform and helping those that supported health care last night, and supporting democrats. >> due to announce when the bill signing is? >> it is likely to be some time tomorrow. they are working out the
logistics in terms of timing. i would plan right now for a late morning bill signing, weather permitting, outside probably on the south lawn. as of the last update i got, it would be logistically there, and if the weather does not cooperate, it might be logistically difficult. i think each and every member of the house and senate that supported health care reform will be invited. i expect that they will attend. i believe the president will have with him many of the stories that he has given over the course of the past year to demonstrate why the president did what he did for so long, and
to this impacts the most. >> [inaudible] what is the white house reaction to the states that have threatened to sue or the health care legislation? >> i heard talk about this this morning on the television. my sense is that a lot of pieces of legislation are challenged in some ways. you've seen the intent of some two challenge this legislation -- to challenge this legislation on grounds that we do not think will be successful. >> is there any plan of reaction? >> i assume there will be many things that we will deal with in the coming weeks, months, and years ahead as health care reform is implemented.
i think that -- some of the states and players might be curious, but again, the longstanding precedents of the constitutionality of this. >> my other question is on google in china. if google pulls out of china, what effect will that have on u.s. relations? >> let me not get ahead of something -- we might have a chance to discuss that later on. i think you heard the president said quite clearly, a policy and a belief that an open government can be with people without the censorship of important, that is tremendously important. so it may be that there some
issues that we in a mature diplomatic relationship disagree, but i do not want to get ahead of something. [inaudible] i do not know what the latest is. >> thursday you are going to iowa. the president will talk about health care reform. [inaudible] if you look at what he announced in 2007 and what will be a lot as of tomorrow, there are similarities but there are striking differences in terms of whether or not there is universal coverage, whether or not every individual's family premiums will go down $2,500. is this just what happens when i deal meets pragmatic politics are what the differences are to mark >> -- r?
>> what you propose and west coasts through the system sometimes changes. -- and what goes through the system sometimes changes. in laying out a specific policy, we should not, in a country like the united states of america, have to decide between keeping a house and keeping health care. we should not live in a country where people do not have access to affordable health care. look, always in this, it always goes through the legislative process, but i think what the president promised back then and what the president will
sign tomorrow is very much the promise of affordable, accessible health care that puts people back in charge of their health care, rather than insurance companies. i think something that will have lasting benefit for tens of millions of americans for many years to come. >> is there going to be follow- up legislation? the current legislation will leave 23 million americans -- americans uninsured. >> i did not know if there is one of the discussion about this morning. the coverage -- between 94% and 95% of americans will have coverage. we will get to the important process of ensuring its
efficient and speedy implementation. >> it was a long hard fight, very divisive in many ways. as a man who campaigned on breaking the partisan divide, to reach out to the republicans for future rev -- future legislation for improving the tone and washington that has been hurt by this? >> i do not know that -- we will be able to look back and see whether the debate itself poisoned the atmosphere. i think the president will do on financial reform come on campaign finance, on getting our economy moving again, all of the host of issues that immigration reform and energy that we have talked about still being on the docket, the
president will continue to reach out to democrats and republicans that want to make a positive effort on these issues. i'm a little struck by the fact that everyone seems to want to talk about repeal today. i will let the profile in the "new york times," the anecdote that he had a plan even before the recovery act, to say no to each and every thing that the president proposed. i think that is a little bit about where -- what elections will ultimately be about. if people want to campaign on attacking tax cuts away from
small businesses, taking assistance away from people wanting prescription drug, a mother knowing that their child cannot be discriminated against by insurance companies, if that is the platform that others want to run on, taking that away from families and small businesses, then we will have a robust campaign on that. >> there was one republican member shouting baby killer. what is your reaction to that? how do you pick up the pieces of this debate for immigration? >> we have talked about any number of different debates, what happens when people say things that have no place in a legislative debate.
no real place in our public, or quite frankly, even private discourse. i don't want to explain to my 6-year-old son of the things that were done and said this past weekend. i think the president believes, hargarten -- regardless of the passionate views, which people rightly hold, a country as great as this, we ought to be able to have that debate will about having the type of language and actions that we have seen in some places of the weekend. >> was there any talk this morning about legislation -- is this the first bite of the apple? does the president hope to complete this? >> i appreciate you all
constructing another mountain for us to climb. quite frankly, this afternoon, we will enjoy the view from where we are. >> i have the meeting to mark, the prime minister suggested that he might make concessions including sitting down for direct talks with palestinians it sounds like we need to hear whether the u.s. is willing to bring the parties together. how will the present received those concessions? >> i think prime minister netanyahu will meet with administration officials today and meet privately with the president like he did last year, tomorrow. our goal in any of this is to
create an atmosphere of trust and open dialogue to bring these two sides together so that the discussions can be sensitive in moving toward middle east peace. i think that is what we hope tomorrow is, in his discussions with the prime minister, and we will see what comes out of that. >> is the president prepared to start talks? >> the president looks ball or to having a good conversation with the prime minister and we will see where we go from there. >> its legitimate to talk about what is the next place. >> it is legitimate ask. i think what all of washington learned is that he is willing
to make very tough decisions -- willing to make very tough decisions and see that through. i think there were many opportunities where he could have turned back, and i think it meant more to him than any election night could have, because i think he understands that the reason he continued to push forward on something as important as health care reform is that he understands just what it will mean, as i've seen
-- as i said earlier, for americans for many years to come. within this year, small businesses will begin to get tax credits to help pay for the coverage that they provide their employees, seniors will get help in the prescription drug coverage, and we will begin to close that donut hole i talked about. a mother will not have to sit in her kitchen on the phone with an insurance company, worried sick that the decision about her child's health care are not going to be made by dr. but by her or her family, but by an
insurance company, a bureaucrat on the other end of the phone and god knows where determining that that child had a pre- existing condition. that is all going to change, and that is just what is going happened over the course of the rest of 2010. i think he knew what he wanted to accomplish, and despite whatever he was told, he kept fighting for what he believed in. >> [inaudible] he started out very slowly. >> i would say perseverance paid off. i think the president rightly looks at the scorekeeping that happen on any individual day, but i doubt there is not anyone that declared health care dead.
maybe multiple times. i think the pace that the president had was to see the long view and get this done. i think that is what he did. as for the next round, we taught that there was no doubt that finishing the legislation that the president had offered, and ideas that he offered, getting our economy moving again, small business lending, zero capital gains for start-ups of businesses, the retrofitting initiatives to begin creating jobs -- there is the outstanding case of the loophole for citizens united, and obviously financial reform, which senator
dodd's committee will take up today, and i think we feel there is some momentum building for seeing that through, as well as big issues like comprehensive energy legislation. there is plenty left for the president to do. [inaudible] >> i think the executive order makes this clear. the president was -- the president's stated throughout this process that health care reform should maintain the status quo. he believes that the bill maintains the status quo and he thinks the executive order
reiterates that strong belief. >> it reiterates the existing law. you did not need an executive order to do that. >> the president and many in congress on both side believed as the president did that they should be in health care bill. it should not be a bill about other issues, and what the bill does and what the executive order does that status quo preserving. that was the whole point. >> what the president have any new proposals for the israeli- palestinian proposals beyond the talks right now? any new ideas? >> again, after the meeting, i think the president is rightly
focused on building the type trust which needed to get two parties back to the table and continue their dialogue. >> does expect further apology for the treatment of the vice president? >> i think he has spoken clearly on that and that will no doubt be a topic in the meeting. >> so there is no public meeting. this will be the second time in a row that prime minister netanyahu is met with the president and there have been no cameras. >> marquez better statistics on this probably. -- mark has betters this decision is probably. [laughter]
what you have to say about that? i think this is the fourth meeting, if not -- if i am not mistaken, within half to -- with netanyahu. [inaudible] >> i think it will have a good discussion. >> is a helpful thing? >> it is helpful to have the means. [inaudible] >> we said that a week ago. >> why would they go public? >> our bond with the israelis is strong. >> and allied comes and visits, no pictures -- and allied -- an ally comes and visits, no pictures. it does seem odd. this is an important ally, you say that relationships are
important, why not come out together and say that? >> there will be coverage of the meeting. >> why you have this confidence of established law and precedent? >> its regulation of interstate commerce. >> how was the mandate of individual coverage purchased interstate commerce? >> i am not a lawyer. this is the pool where neither of us consider the bottom. but the attorney general of virginia will sue. i think that for many decades, the supreme court has recognized congress's authority under the commerce clause to regulate activities relating to interstate commerce.
>> so the argument is going to be, as an american citizen you're going to have to get health care insurance. >> the constitutional basis of an individual responsibility requirement -- right -- for instance, you talk to one of the state's thinking about doing this. senator hatch and senator bennett have had legislation requiring some level of individual responsibility like this. senator bennett's health care bill with senator biden had an individual mandate. -- senator wyden had an individual mandate. >> that law could be wrong legally, too. >> we all have-senator hatch whether he regularly --
>> there's no basis on which some people could -- >> we think that this is based on established law. >> you've got to 51 votes for reconciliation for you got the wind up $3 that is what senator reid told the house caucus on saturday. -- you have got them lined up. >> that is what senator reid tell the house caucus on saturday. it did not have the commitments that he said that he had, and we believe that he does. the bush can use a word for word what they have? >> i think that the senate will take this up at some point this week, begin the process and health care will become what tomorrow.
-- become o'clock tomorrow. -- become law to more. i cannot speak to all the shenanigans that will be tried on capitol hill in the course of the next many days. but we're confident that the process is coming to an end. >> their son that believe, given the difficult of complying with the separation of funds and the roles that are laid out, many insurers will not opt for abortion coverage in the exchange. >> i have not talked to nancy- ann about that topic. obviously once the president
signs this into law, there will be a host of implementation ideas that we will begin working on. >> and on the broader question, the president entered office determined to bridge the gap between the abortion sides, trying to bring them together. it seems as though the abortion wars are as hot as they have ever been. >> if they were as hot as they have ever been, we would be talking about why this was an issue that was not central to the legislation and caused this divide. instead, we're here because groups work together in order to ensure that the health-care bill would be a health care bill. >> do you think the abortion debate has become less toxic of a last week? >> i think it is about health care. it is evidence that the issue is one that even those that
disagree on can find common ground to ensure important policies like comprehensive health care reform moving forward. >> robert, but the president signed the executive order tomorrow? >> i am told he cannot sign that until he signs the wall. i cannot know whether that is tomorrow or the coming days. likely because of weather, we are going to be over at the department of interior tomorrow. i think largely because of that. >> on a chip on thursday, is that a victory lap or is he reaching out to americans that are upset about the bill? >> i think we will take the opportunity to discuss the benefits that the law provides millions of americans as a
result of his signature. we can debate the polling and the politics on this, but as we get away from the back-and-forth of a legislative floor debate and examine what is in the bill and how it affects families is a small businesses and seniors, and then we can talk about what is not in the bill, despite what some people have said, and i think the president believes more will see the benefits that he saw in making sure that this legislation become law. >> does he want to try to allay these fears are concerns of those opposed to the bill? >> i think that people -- he will all people through what this legislation does. i think you heard him say in the past many months to address specific instances about what they say the bill does that in fact does not do. he will continue to have an
opportunity to do that. i anticipate he will do a lot of that tomorrow and started on that last night and to even more in iowa city. >> to get any comments about the vote before the bell was entirely partisan? -- the vote was entirely partisan? >> nothing i can specifically remember. again, this is a president that has, by any account, you can see that this is a process that took a little more than a year to complete, partly because the process that congress went through was to get republican support, even one republican said -- even if it is likely highlight what is in the bill, i will not be able to vote for
it. i think this is regrettably the times that we live in. >> since the briefing started, google has now announced that it will not sensor searches in china and is directing users to foreign servers. >> let me -- i know that there were some -- i need to find out what discussions were had here this morning. i know that there were some discussions over the weekend that something like this might be coming. >> do you know what action the u.s. might take if the chinese government makes any move for googled operations? >> i do not know about would get into that. i am happy to react to something. >> on the talks tomorrow night, will the president offer up some proposals?
>> again, i'm not under the impression that the president is bringing new proposals fall were. i think what we need to do is work to get and build the types of relationship between the two parties that allows them to get to the table and trust each other and to have a conversation. that is what the president's intention has been, quite honestly, since the beginning of the administration and trying to get this accomplished. >> any specific request? >> i am not going to get into what has been discussed with the secretary of state and the vice-president of the past weeks. -- over the past we spirit >> when did the president know
that he had the final blows? was it the final resolution of the stupak situation? i have to imagine it was a mile is significant moment for him personally and for those closest to him. >> i think that in terms of both, the members that congressman stupak had that shared his concerns, once the executive order -- once that all played out, obviously that is the point that we felt good that the legislation would exceed 216 votes. >> did you think you can get to 16 without that? -- did you think you can get 216 without that? >> there were a lot of combinations to get to 216.
>> could you have gone there without stupak? >> i am not sure that is altogether noble, since it became that way as today, and i'd do not know what that does to other people. in terms of the roosevelt room, major, we walked in and of the vice president was there, many staffers were there, and i think he had come down from the residents and he wanted to, as we want to be with him, he wanted to be with a group of people who had been working on
the promise of health care reform for millions and millions of americans. as you always do, you anxiously watch and wonder who that 24 people are who have not voted with 2.5 minutes left so never mind that it has been what everyone has talked about four weeks. and when we had to 16, there was a lot of jubilation. -- and when we hit 216, there was a lot of jubilation. he went around the room, shaking hands and hugging and
high-fiving. their people working on this longer then there has been in the obama administration, that had been with the president for many years throughout the campaign, like myself. they felt enormously proud of him for the type of perseverance i talked about earlier, not letting up and not giving up, and making sure that we drove for -- we drove toward what he saw as the outcome rather than listen to all of the noise and gimmicks. >> [inaudible] >> i just remember him being very happy.
he walked around the room and we all had a chance to say something. >> speaking of pilot, charles grassley said that he would like offer an amendment in the reconciliation process to require the president and all senior staff and cabinet secretaries to live under the guidelines and requirements of the health-care bill. do you consider that of what the legislation? -- eighth law of the legislation? >> i would have to look at the amendment. if someone offered an amendment at some point to make members of congress, as the president has said, give the american people the same kind of health care that members of congress have come all this with the president supported that. -- that members of congress have, obviously the president's supported that. [inaudible] >> i did not have that information. >> will it be a speech or a town hall? >> it will be a speech. >> what is the administration's methods to it -- message to the palestinian when they have called on the israelis to stop building? [inaudible] it seems there is no real solution. >> i think the president is hopeful that we will in this
meeting make progress without getting into the intricacies of it, getting these two parties -- not just bad physically to talks but to the type of relationship that is necessary for those talks to bear fruit. >> first, on the passage of the health care reform bill, a lot of talk about democrats in november, i think karl rove said that it would be devastating for democrats. was the reporters i have heard on tv indicate that democrats are going to pay some price. any scenario where democrats could actually gain in november? >> i am not when the hazard a lot of guesses on eight months from now. eight months -- eight months
back with from today, i don't think people thought today we would be talking about what we accomplished. i tend not to have a crystal ball. again, when the president signs this landmark legislation, the american people over the next several months begin to filter small business tax credits and protections of children being declared having a pre -- pre- existing condition, seniors getting help with prescription drugs, it is part of health care reform and i think that will be beneficial. the president was eloquent in
saying that over the past couple weeks, what happens if this fails, what does it mean for you politically, and the president was clear in saying that his far greater concern was what happens to all of those depending on us to change the status quo, and to do so in a way that helps them? i know that there are a lot of folks that will want to prognosticate. i think the president's strong belief is that you make the decisions that you believe are right, and you don't spend a lot of time listening to the chatter, and with good decisions and good policy, they
tend to make for good politics in the long run. >> there's talk on the left about how any democratic senator the sponsor an amendment with a public option and the reconciliation package. if that happens, would that be something the president pushes for? >> we will wait for the senate to make that decision. >> the present and third months of negotiations to get republicans on board. he went through town halls and meetings at blair house and ended up with zero republican votes. is the lesson that bipartisanship is a fool's errand? >> if the strategy on the other side is regardless of what the president proposes, to say no, then bipartisanship is going to be difficult. you've seen people say that we're not going to work together with the other side for the rest of the year. i don't think that is a real change in their schedule. i haven't noticed all whole lot
of -- gee, i know the economy is experiencing its worst downturn since the great depression, here are some ideas to help. the american people will judge whether or not people are doing what they're doing because they are just continuing the type gains -- games the american people hate in this town versus people who are trying to honestly make some progress. i think the president spent seven or so hours at the blair house, incorporated into the legislation were more than 100 republican amendments -- you would have to ask them what it would take to get their support,
when the president -- bipartisanship cannot be none of your ideas and all of my ideas. people like bob dole and howard baker had proposals with tom daschle, very similar to what was proposed here. i talked about the fact that this legislation looks and all like -- looks and all light -- an awful lot like what happened in massachusetts, and i'm sure mitt romney hates me say net. why would people who propose something very similar to this now walk away from this? it is a good question for them to take. . .
advance. our distinguished group of panelists. this is a second report of our strengthening of america's future initiative entitled "prosperity or decline: breaking washington's deadlock to save america's future." we've all heard the phrase washington is broken. cnn series and the fact that both mccain and obama campaigned to change the way washington works. the nbc/"the wall street journal" polling show the congress at 37%, the president 48%. he dropped today. with 51% for the first time saying that they would not favor the reelection of their own member of congress. we, therefore, have a crisis of
credibility with the public for leadership in washington. the public is sick of polarization. by contrast to the polarization in washington, a report before you involves 12 issue groups coming together on key issues facing the nation. holding generally shows these issues begin with jobs and the economy, spending and the deficit, health care and two wars. we covered them all. the leaders of our education reform group, governor and senator, just happened to be former chairs of the republican and democratic national committees. these 12 issue teams are made up of over 200 prominent, republicans, democrats and independents. former ambassadors, members of
congress, governors, business leaders and aca strategy for the next decade. they're agile and can think strategically. our project is modeled after president eisenhower's 1953 so lair yum exercise developed for what he called a long haul strategy to be successful in the cold war. this led to success during the cold war. his cement, this five-star general, his cement was fiscal strength and the entrepreneurial culture that would emerge.
20 to 30 years eat up discretionary spending. as secretary clinton complained recently, the debt and deficit now even become a problem of national security. on the present course, over time, we would no longer, she notes, be able to fund nation at security. that means army, navy and air force. she knows our declining leverage around the world as such a large debtor nation. the conclusion of our 24 steering committee members was the need for a statutory, fiscal commission loosely modeled after the army bases closing commission as the best way to succeed. this process would enable the politicians to be politically protected to do what's best for their country.
we were, indeed, happy that the senate version of conrad gregg's bill, a bill similar to our generic commission recommendation reached 53 bipartisan votes when the president finally moved to endorse it. we regretted that at that point six republican co-sponsored fell off with a charges suddenly leveled from the outside that this could be a tax trap. we neat on the third day of his presidency, president obama correctly noted that after health care we might have to move to such a commission. we only wish he'd endorsed it earlier. nevertheless, we applaud the president now for moving to establish his own commission, a second best to a statutory one. i had a chance to speak with both leaders of the new effort, senator alan simpson ander skin
bowles. mr. bowles, a former white house chief of staff, and the former very dynamic head of the small business administration, will certainly be looking at tax reform to aid these greatest developers of job formation. the other co-chair, alan simpson, a deficit hawk, recalls that i first became involved with him when we were on the tax issue when i was running csi's 1994. when the strength of america commission offered their consumption tax. it came up without consumption tax and my simplified version what i spend in tax, what i save and invest is not. the tax favoring savings, investment and innovation and competitiveness. this ran into the criticism of
problems on transition. surely, we can all agree we need a different tax code than the one today, one favoring savings, investment, innovation, entrepreneurship and growth. paul ryan and the imaginative roundtable for america's future uses similar language. perhaps we can all agree on new ways to increase the revenue stream, as well. let's creatively determine how to do that. let's also ensure that budget cutting does not cut investment for national strength in education, science and health research. surely, one would think that enlightened people could come together to improve a tax code as compared to one going through the highly politicized process
beginning with the ways and means committee. i think this commission may be a last call. imminent historian nile ferguson in "newsweek" and foreign affairs talks about states that deficit and debt are the precursor of the decline of great nations. i believe that every generation is called upon to be the greatest generation. as evidenced by david walker's magnificent book entitled "come back america." as for come back america, i would emphasize that the centrality of fiscal solvency has not kept us from seeking in our work new creativity in each issue area. this dynamic of the individual groups while contributing to our two overall reports have had legs of their own.
with some of their own timing before our report even came out. our education and competitiveness group had already made recommendations to the white house prior to the president's outstanding reform speech before the hispanic chamber of commerce. like wise, our infrastructure group led by governor engler and former transportation secretary rodney slater here today has -- did the same. on job formation, i believe the stimulus focused even more to invest in transportation as secretary slater had said, i hope i'm quoting reasonably well. that here you can see job formation. also, made recommendations to the national security adviser on related to rejuvenating nato for the war in afghanistan and in
the larger nation of security areas. lastly, in the second report for comprehensive reform, which, by the way, will be our focus in the coming year, as well as the establishment of the civil service leadership institute at home and a grant-making foundation for international understanding of marshal plan for the spirits and minds of the youth of the world to capture the best of the multi-media information revolution. now, i call on carl cannon, a great author on the presidency, journalist, who along with his father written about ronald reagan and others to take over and, carl, we appreciate your service this morning. >> well, thank you. i'm going to moderate minimally. if you have a panel this illustrious, you don't have to talk much.
i think i'll just introduce this panel. i'll wait to introduce the next panel when they come up here. and then, i'm going to ask david walker to start and then have every member of the panel make a few just brief remarks. we went over it on the phone so they are brief. and then we'll have a discussion. but first of all, let me just say -- starting at my right, your left, david walker's a former u.s. controller of the united states. now president of the peterson foundation. and i've got on my immediate right, norm augustine, the former chairman and ceo of lockheed martin. to my left, carla hills. she was hud secretary if memory serves and when i covered her, u.s. trade representative. and then to her left is fred
birkson the president of the peterson institution ol international economics and former assistant secretary of the treasury and the carter administration. so david, if you would start. >> sure. thank you, carl. first, as president and ceo i want to say we were very pleased to be the primary sponsor of the strengthening america's. it was for a call of greatness issued in january of 2008. it's important that you understand that this is a non-partisan effort. we have republicans, democrats and independents. and in fact, a conscious decision was made to have a republican, democrat and independent co-chair. because we wanted to come up with non-partisan solution that is hopefully could achieve broad based, bipartisan support and i
was pleased to serve. leon pi net that was going to be a co-chair but he was called to the cia and roy step in ably to fill his shoes. i think the title of the report says a lot. prosperity or decline, breaking washington's deadlock to save america's future. our future is at risk. america is at a critical crossroads. in my view, the decision that is are made or fail to be made within the next five years will largely determine whether our collective future is better than our past. for any great power to stay great, they must remain strong economically. it cannot remain strong economically if its financial condition is deteriorating and its fiscal affairs are not in order. ensuring our economic strength
is both a national security and a stewardship issue. the sad but simple truth is that our nation's financial condition is worse than advertised and we are on imprudent and unsustainable fiscal path. deficits have gone -- have skyrocketed in the last ten years. we have gone from a $236 billion sur flous an estimated $1.5 trillion deficit for this year. debt has more than doubled in the last ten years. and it's on track to double again in the next ten years. our total liabilities and unfunded promises for social security and medicare have tripled in the last ten years. now, 62.3 trillion over $200,000 per person and growing rapidly. we've become dangerously dependent on foreign lenders and they're getting nervous. they're speaking publicly and acting, as well, with regard to their appetite for our debt.
and how much long-term debt they're willing to buy. the simple truth is that the federal government has overpromised and underdelivered for far too long. and yet, it still wants to make more promises. we have tens of trillions of dollars in unfunded promises already. and yet, the government wants to make more. it's time for washington to wake up because the american people get it. they're more proficient at math than washington is. although, unfortunately, the united states is not top 25 in the world in math. we have to rise above partisan politics. just as importantly, ideological divides in order to make tough choices before we face a crisis in order to help save america's future. in my view, we must avoid a tipping point which would be a loss of confidence by our foreign lenders and ability to put the financial house in order
if we pass that tipping point, there will be a dramatic decline in the dollar, a dramatic indplees interest rates and, frankly, something worse than a recession. we must avoid that. to do that, creating the fiscal future commission or as president obama has done the fiscal reform and responsibility commission can be a way to avoid passing that tipping point. but that -- that commission must have goals beyond balancing the primary budget at 2015. frankly, that's not a very tough goal. we need to achieve a stabilization of debt to gdp over time and we need to achieve a significant reduction in the tens of trillions of dollars of obligations we have already so there should be multiple goals of which achieving primary balance by 2015 should be but one. secondly, it will be absolutely critical that this commission engages with representative groups of americans around the country. because even if they could
achieve 14 out of 18 votes, if they don't do that, they'll never get the votes in congress. i hope that they're successful. i'm concerned about whether they will be. but frankly, we don't have any choice but to try to make real progress within the next several years to avoid a tipping point. i think it's important to keep in mind that there is a way forward. and that this report provides a number of specific ideas about what needs to be done to avoid a tipping point in the short term and to put america on a more prudent and sustainable path over time. believe it or not, this country has been in existence as a republic for over 220 years and, yet, it's never had a strategic plan. never. in addition, it doesn't have key outcome-based indicators. economic, safety, security, social and environmental. to understand where we are, how
we're trending and how we compare it to the comparer groups. they're fundament alto sure that the programs, policies, regulatory and other actions are achieving real results and that we are positioning ourselves to help create a better future for our country and for our families. with that, thank you very much,
for our present purpose, let me define competitiveness with a four-letter word. j-o-b-s. jobs. jobs obviously underpin the quality life of individual americans. jobs underpin the tax revenues that make it possible for our government to provide those things we expect from our government. national security. health care and so on. we describe in our report the nation having two hills to climb and that's true in the competitiveness area. there's a short-term hill to
climb which is to dig out of the financial tribulations of which we currently find ourselves. there's a second hill to climb that's really the one i want to address. it's a longer term hill, it is a higher hill. it's going to be a much more difficult challenge than the first. and it's taken us longer to get into it and long tore get out of. that hill really does have to do with america's ability and americans' ability to compete in the new global marketplace. i think most everyone accepts that we have a global marketplace today. we have a situation where a single trader in singapore can bring down one of london's most venerable banks where the russians' value of the ruble can undo america's best-known hedge fund. we have a situation where america's misdeeds in subprime
mortgages can help put iceland into bankruptcy. not long ago i was on easter island. i talked to a gentleman selling carvings. he said his family was in trouble. business was bad because fellows living in caves in afghanistan had blown up a building in america and the tourists weren't coming to easter island. indeed, it is a global marketplace today. in this marketplace, americans are going to have to be able to compete for jobs, not just with the neighbors across town but with the neighbors across the globe and that's going to be a huge challenge for us. and we have seen already the impact of 17%, if you will, unemployment rate. we could find that that's atypical of the future if we don't get on a different path than we're on today. how do we compete in the world ahead?
there are a number of parameters to that contribute to that. there's no one silver bullet. today, we happen to be from beneficiaries of investments made in the past. the benefits of those investments are beginning to wear out. we clearly are on a downward trend. how do we compete? consider some of the parameters. consider wages. labor. there are many people in this world and not just factory labor but workers at -- in most all levels who are willing to work for a fraction of what americans have come to expect. that's a huge disadvantage. if you look at the quality of our work force in terms of its education, as david said, the k-12 education system in this country, on average, on average is abysmal and getting worse, particularly in math and science. higher education, which has been
one of our great advantages, is in some trouble in my opinion today because of the lack of revenues for the public institutions and the decline in the endowments of private institutions. as i travel abroad, i find people putting together lists of professors in this country that are the star that is they hope to pick off and attract to their country. we've always had a huge advantage in having large amount of financial capital. today, capital pays no attention to geo political borders. it moves across those borders at the speed of light seeking opportunity wherever that may be found. other factors, litigation. in america, our corporations spends three times as much on litigation as they do on research. not a formula for success. i could talk about patents, taxes, about our stagnant market, relatively stagnant market compared with the growing
markets in many parts of asia. how in that environment do we compete for jobs as americans? it is our view and the view of many other that is our only avenue of succeeding in that area is innovation. we have to be able to come up with new knowledge, produce new products and get those products in the marketplace faster than anyone else can. to do that, we need three things. we need human capital, knowledge capital and we need an environment that's conducive do innovation. and those are the things that we talk about, make recommendations for in our report. some point out that other countries might implode. and save us. such as the soviet union essentially imploded. some would say that japan's economy is comparable to what was expected imploded but it would be our view that to base a strategy for this country on
others imploding is not a sound approach. thank you, carl. >> thank you. i think that's such a natural segue and ask carla hills to address something but before i do, there's seats up front if you're standing in the back to seat, it's not disruptive but you're free to stand. but i guess, carla hills, i would ask you in this global economy, how does the u.s. create jobs? what are some of the answers to the question that is norm raised? >> i think norm raises very good questions about jobs that are hinged to our future prosperity and our future security and i want to comment dave abshire and the study of the presidency for picking up this brief to try to recommend to the administration, to the american people where we ought to go in the decade that we face. and even the decade after that. if we are to create jobs, and to be competitive as norm says, to
have real prosperity for our people, and by the way, that entails national security, we're going to have to open our markets. we know country in the history of the world has ever prospered by sealing itself off from the world. and today, that's more important than ever before because of globalization. you know, the supply chains encircle the globe. you can communicate in ana no second around the world and for us not to have maximum access to every corner of the map is simply cutting off our chances to create jobs, to create prosperity and to ensure our future security. i would recommend that the administration develop a trade strategy. when i travel abroad, i'm constantly told, americans don't have a trade strategy. and we must correct that and
now. not years from now. not after health care. not after climate change. now. it is intricately linked with our ability to climb out of the hole that dave talked about. just think about it. on the three trade agreement that is have already been negotiated, they could be done tomorrow. colombia, panama and south korea. we would create advantages for ourselves. in colombia and panama, the goods from those two countries come into our market, duty free. and we pay as much as 35% duty. that's a tax on our entrepreneurs that sell into that market. the majority of entrepreneurs that sell into latin american markets are small and medium-sized businesses. they're the backbone of our job creation so we talk about jobs, jobs, jobs. we tugt move on those. south korea's not only strategic from a national security point
of view, it is about our ninth largest trading partner. and while we're sitting on the curb, the rest of the world is entering into free trade agreements with south korea. europe is negotiated one. india's negotiated one. the asean plus three negotiated one. where's the united states? to make it simple for americans. that mean that is products all of those countries have better opportunity, more competitive than our products because we suffer from the impediments we have not been willing to negotiate down and that we have to change. we also should be a leader in the doha round. my friend here from -- who heads up the peterson institute for international economics really a premier institution has done a study to show that if we were just to take what was on the
table at doha today, we would generate growth of $300 billion to $700 billion a year. we want to walk away from that? we want better, deal, yes. then we better come to the table. our negotiator for the world trade organization is not yet confirmed by our senate. this is amazing to me. and i think that we need to move on the trade agreement that is we have, instead. the president has spoken out and there's been one meeting of the transpacific partnership that's something that's longer term. that is to say, it is not on the shelf. it is not a negotiation that's in a room but it has had one meeting and it has great potential and i think we should all support it. so that and when i talk about open markets, i'm not just talking about opening markets to the trade of goods, services, foreign investment but also
people. the statistics on letting bright, energetic foreigners in to our market are fantastic. 50% are more likely to start their own business. 52% of foreigners are heading companies in silicon valley. these foreigners hire 450,000 americans. and they contribute $52 billion to our annual income. and we want to keep them out? right now, we only give 65,000 h-1-b -- i get it mixed up with the -- >> that's right. >> -- with the -- >> not hiv. >> h-1-b, right? >> that's the good one. >> that's the good one. and we need a lot more of it.
that's all we give. and we have all kinds of impediments on students who come in either on a student green card where there are only 40,000 and we have to change that. i could go on but i would be robbing his time and i know i will enjoy his remarks. >> one of the benefits of my moderating if you're a journalist, i didn't introduce myself but i'm david carl cannon. i have an op-ed to commission for our site from carl and i know she'll write it because she just wrote it but, fred, it is your turn. >> carl, i don't know if you'll enjoy what i say but i hope you'll be edified by what i say. i'll be very brief. dave abshire in leading off quoted the secretary of state as to how the economic problems we talk about so much are also national security problems.
dave walker led off with remarks of that type. and i'll simply amplify how serious that is. and how the external impact of our failure to get our act together at home could, in fact, be the most critical and crisis-provoking element of the whole picture. the united states is already by far the world's largest debtor country. our net foreign debt exceeds $3 trillion. it's rising at an annual rate between half a trillion and 1 trillion more. we have done a major study at our institute projecting where that will go over the next 10 to 20 years and unless we get our house in order domestically the number wills rise to such a level they could never happen. the current level of half a trillion a year to ten times that, $5 trillion a year.
this could happen literally at any moment. but if we stay on the trajectory we are now on, it inevitably and inexorably will happen. quality budget erosion is like termites in the woodwork domest domestically. it could literally bring the house down because of the international effect. now, that's what happens when, not if, when the foreign financiers decide they're not going to keep investing in us.
but there's a huge problem even if they do keep financing in -- keep financing us. one of the major causes of the current crisis was the huge inflow of foreign capital necessitated by our trade deficits. when we run a trade deficit of $700 billion a year, we have to borrow $700 billion a year from the rest of the world to finance it. and over this recent period, we were successful in doing that. but what was the result of that? a huge increase in monetary ease in the united states because all this foreign money was flooding in. a big depression of interest rates so that even if the federal reserve tried to tighten in 2005 it failed and long-term rates stayed down. you remember greenspan talking about the conundrum of why the fed could not succeed in tightening u.s. monetary policy. the reason was we were having to attract all the foreign money to
finance our external deficits. that foreign money kept the monetary conditions easy and that promoted the excessive borrowing, the excessive lending, the overleveraging, the underpricing risk of that was a major factor in bringing on the current crisis. so the bottom line is that as long as we run these big, foreign deficits, we're damned if the foreigners do finance us and we're going to be damned even worse if they don't finance us. we've got do get our house in order. the only way to do it is to get the budget deficit under control, to advance the competitiveness agenda that norm augustine was talked about, to promote open, international markets so we can sell abroad and expand our exports and improve the trade benefit in that way as carla hills just described and i think this report points us in all those directions. thank you. >> thank you.
i'm going to ask the panelists now a few questions. and the starting -- i think i want to start with carla. you mentioned immigration problem. we take a pal tri number of people with high skilled people in this country and they're job creators. but when people think of immigration, they think of, you know, they think of the lady liberty, give us your poor, tired -- they don't think of skilled workers. they think of refugees and america's done a good job of bringing these people in but immigration is bogged down in congress as you know and this reminds me of a key point of david abshire and throughout this report which is how one policy is linked to another and linked to another and sometimes these things are in silos and don't talk to each other. immigration, we don't seem to be able to get there from here on
immigration because of the illegal immigration and ronald reagan signed a big bill in 1987 and said future generation wills thank us. the 3 million people legalized thanked him. they still voted democratic but that i's another matter. now we're -- another round -- what is it? 12 million. no one knows the number. people here illegally. they're for all practical purposes americans but the question srks the next one 20 million? we will have lost control. that's the debate in congress and this very important issue that you talk about that's related to jobs can't even rise to the surface because the two parties can't get together on illegal immigration. do you have any words of wisdom of that problem could be solved? >> we need the political will to deal with the problem that is confront our nation and to have a sound immigration policy across the board at the high end and at the low end is indispensable. the fact is that two decades ago we began talking about what needs to be done and i don't
think any sensible american is in doubt of what needs to be done. of course, we need to enforce our laws but we need to get our laws in order. we have probably 12 million undocumented, foreigners in our country. and many of these people, a majority of those, are good residents of our nation. they pay taxes. they pay social security. their kids go to our schools and they're some of the immigrant that is have made entrepreneurial contributions to our country. we want to have a path for their legality and that we could spell out in legislation. we should have a reasonable guest program. in california they had a program in the '40s. it worked very well. the immigrants would come in and pick the fruit and then they would go back out. then we tightened our border and
as a result they couldn't go in and go back out easily. so they stayed. and, those that wanted to come and get the job came across illegally. seems to me we ought to have a reasonable guest program. we tugt say to employers, you're part of the problem. you've got enforce the rules that are on our books and not wink at it. and so, there are about four different factors that you could take into consideration. a path for citizenship for those who are here who have no record that is anything other than exemplary. that we have a guest worker program because we need the guest workers for, quite frankly, we are getting older. and we need some help. and they've supplied it. and do a good job and then they go home after they've done their job. that we do the things that need to be done. we could conquer the immigration problem and our country would be
much, much better off with less friction and sort of lead by example. after all, why can't we carry out what's engraved on the statue of liberty? give us your huddled masses. that's what we were made of so we should take care of it. >> i ask a question now of norm august streen. the panelists, jump in. don't wait for me if something occurs to me but you mentioned, norm, jobs. that that's the number one thing we have to have right now to get -- to address all of these problems. it starts with that. but, you know, we just had a huge stimulus that didn't really stimulate very much and there's a question whether corporate america is now capable of creating jobs and what i keep hearing and if anybody's done writing in this area, the letters you get back, people have lost a lot of faith in capitalism, in corporate capitalism. you're a former capitalist.
i'll put it down there where the goat cans get it. we bailed out the banks and refused to lend money. you bail out the greedy financial institutions and out of the red, gave each other on scene bonuses again. what people feel is that the government may have lost the ability to regulate wall street and the banks so that they can do what they're supposed to do which is create employment. >> well, you make some good points. some years ago i wrote a book of laws. i have a new law that goes as follows. that if you add hubris to ego and add -- disaster will not be left to chance. one of the problems we face today, of course, is that the government cannot legislate against hubris and ego. it can do some things about
leverage. much of our problem today is not due so much to the government not having the power to control. the government has lots of power. in many cases, the watchdogs were asleep. this is complicated, of course, because there's a great danger that the government by overcontrolling could inadvertently kill the goose trying to lay the golden egg and i think that's a danger we have to guard against, as well. i think there's also some personal responsibility that has to be taken by firms and by the leaders of firms. banks and industrial firms and other firms, as well. and i think that some of that personal responsibility can be brought about. we have seen it in some other areas, i think. but unfortunately, this is an
area that by trying to legislate, you can't do this, you can't do that and you can't do something else, there's too many seam that is smart people can find a way through and i think one has to deal with the issue more broadly. and i'll make a suggestion and i don't speak for the group here necessarily but just my own thought. a lot of the troubles we see on wall street is based on people trying to get rich quick. a lot of the problems we see in the industrial competitiveness is due to the short-term view of ceos. they take that view not because they want to but the market forces them to. supposing we had a tax law that said that if -- for capital gains, if you held an asset two days the tax on the gains from that asset would be taxed at 99%
rate. and that if you held it for ten years the tax rate would be 1%. you could draw a curve between the two two to produce whatever revenue you might want to have. i think you would find people on wall street behaving very differently and so i think that it's some of these broader approaches to take rather than try to make a book of 10,000 things that you can't do. we already have that book and it doesn't work. >> carl? carl, but i think just for the record, carl, i think you misstate when you say the fiscal stimulus program did not work. >> i didn't say that. >> that's what you said. >> stimulus that didn't stimulate. in fairness, 11% has been spent. and that -- >> sure. >> most people think that's extraordinarily slow when we were looking for shovel-ready, immediate stimulation to give us jobs. so it isn't that it didn't work. maybe we don't know whether it will work. >> i think more -- i don't want
to get in a big debate about it. it could have been a lot better. but it has created a lot of jobs. it has kept the recession from being even worse than it would have been but i think the point for today is, it did very little if anything to deal with the longer run problems. indeed, by moving the budget into deeper deficit, it creates a bigger hole from which we must dig out oi absolutely. >> that's a crucial point but i think we all recognize that given the gravity of the problem that the country and the world faced a year to 18 months ago you had to stimulate in the short run and to that extent i think we shouldn't trash that particular piece too much. on that one, the administration and the congress did get together. >> i would respectfully suggest that's not that it didn't work. it did have an impact and, of coursely, helped from keeping things from getting worse but i think we have to keep in mind this. there was a huge expectation a p as to what kind of impact it was going to have versus what it did have, and i would respectfully
suggest that by definition, stimulus should be timely, targeted and temporary. and we haven't had much of the spending hit yet, and as a result that's one of the reasons there's an expectation gap but it did have an impact. secondly, you know, government doesn't do a lot of management 101 and 201 things. i talked to you before. we don't have a plan. don't have outcome-based metrics. how about the next one? if you look at the stimulus program and troubled asset relief program we don't have three things. clearly defined objectives about what we're trying to achieve, criteria established up front as to what we're going to do with the money how we'll allocate it and conditions established up front is what you can and can't do with the money. we're 0 for 3. that's a strikeout, all right? in addition, as norm talks about, very importantly, there's rampant myopia or, you know, shortsightedness, nearsightedness, tunnel vision, one issue at a time and
self-interest or self-centeredness. to deal with that we've got to really look at our incentives and transparency whether tax, executive compensation or otherwise. we have to get to the fundamentals, because if you don't change the fundamentals, you're not going to change behavior because people are human beings. and they will behave in a way that is in their perceived @@@'
and do their job and do it very well, okay, but they have handcuffs are and are in a stra straitjacket. they are required by law to make certain assumptions that don't pass a straight-faced test. they're required by law to assume that congress is going to do everything that they say they're going to do despite the fact that there is clear and compelling evidence that they never have and probably never will in dern regards, for example, you know, cutting provider reimbursements dramatically. oh, yeah, all right, don't hold your breath. and so the fact is is i think technically the numbers add up
to say that it will reduce the deficit over ten years and even more beyond that. but i think based on realistic assumptions, no way. more important point is, look, the federal government has made tens of trillions of dollars in promises it doesn't know how it's going to keep. medicare alone is $38 trillion in the hole. you know, we want -- we're talking about adding a new wing onto a health care that is structurally unsound mortgaged for more than it's worth and headed for foreclosure. we need to be figuring out how we're going to cut health care costs, reduce the increase in health care costs and be able to keep from bankrupting our country. you know, we've already made promises we can't afford, and now we want to make more? you know, washington just doesn't get it. but the american people do. >> fred, let me ask you a question. you seem pretty politically attuned to what's going on in washington.
the millennial generation, these under 30s broke for the democrats in 2004, in fact, if -- remember the phrase never trust anyone over 30. if only people under 30 could vote in 2004 john kerry might still be president. he won that group. it really broke very heavily in 2008. the young voters loved barack obama and helped put him in office. it's a demographic shift we kind of thought we'd never see. this group, this group of voters, more liberal than their parents and more democratic with one issue. they're with you on deficit spending. at what point do you think and david abshire talked about every generation could be the greatest generation, not just tom brokaw's cohorts. when do they say this is theft and put the brakes to this deficit spending that we've been talking about? >> well, you've kind of suggested i'm a political pundit. i would neither claim nor accept
that nomenclature. in fact, i would say in terms of getting us to where we are now, the hole we're in now, there's plenty of blame to go around in both parties. you know, just on the facts of it, and i'm not being political, a decade ago, the united states was running a budget surplus. over the eight-year period of the 1990s, the u.s. moved from a budget deficit of 6% of gdp in 1993 to a budget surplus of 2% of gdp in 2000. improve the budget position by a percentage point a year through an eight-year episode. in short, we can do it. it's not impossible to deal with the budget problem. then somehow that all got frittered away. with a series of unchecked expenditure increases and huge
tax cuts. so that then teed us up to go into the deepest crisis since the 1930s in a terrible starting position. the reason why the chinese and others have been able to come out of the crisis so much better than we is that they had good boom management. they went into the crisis in a strong position having built on the economic boom of the previous five years to strengthen fiscal positions. we to the contrary worsened our fiscal position just when we should have been strengthening it. we should have been running budget surpluses through that period of strong economic growth prior to the crisis. had we done that, we'd still have a problem, but we would not be in nearly the hole that we are today. so we had lousy boom management, which then led our crisis response to put us in a really deep hole and i would say
without being political about it hopefully that there's blame to go around, but a lot of that problem occurred in the previous five years. >> i thought i was asking about this new generation. maybe asserting itself but that's all right. >> no, no, so the point is the new generation has to figure out which party or which politician or which program is going to offer a way out of the hole we're in. my point was neither on the basis of its record to date shows us a very optimistic forecast for getting out of the situation. >> ki suggest -- >> yes, please. >> one, they need to understand things are being done to them rather than for them. their future is being mortgaged. relevant investments are being cut back at a time when we've already acknowledged they'll face increasing competition in ray global marketplace. and so sooner or later the need to wake up -- they're being had, all right.
sooner or later they will. but let me come back to fact-based statements. there is to party 6 fiscal responsibility. there are people who are fiscally responsible but there's no party of fiscal responsibility. let me go through the last four presidents including the current one. two presidents, one democrat and one republican did three things in common. george herbert walker bush and william jefferson clinton broke campaign promises on taxes, imposed tough statutory budget controls and did not expand entitlement programs. they were fiscally responsible. george walker bush kept his campaign promise on taxes, let budget controls expire and expanded entitlement benefits and so far barack obama is doing the same thing as george w. bush did. you know, george w. bush was arguably by the facts the most fiscally irresponsible president we've had but his record is in
jeopardy and the american people know it and they don't like it. >> what's the -- can this commission save the day? anybody? >> this commission can do the following. first, if it has meaningful citizen education and engagement with representative groups of citizens, i'm talking about represent -- not just who show up because the extremes show up, and there are ways to do that by the way, our foundation combined with two others are going to fund several -- several exercises in meaningful and representative citizen education engagement and in several cities around this country this summer. they need to do that. if they do that to state the fact, speak the truth, talk about the tough choice, help people understand the prudence of acting sooner rather than later, the benefits of doing so and the detriments to our country and our families if we don't, they have to do that. because if they don't do that,
they may not accomplish much. it's going to be very difficult for them to get 14 out of 18 votes, but even if they don't get 14 out of 18 votes they could accomplish something through civic education and engagement and if they -- even if they do get 14 out of 18 votes if they don't have meaningful engagement they won't get the votes in congress. and so it's really, really important that they go about this the right way. >> carl, may i -- >> norm, you go then i'll let carl have the last word then we'll go to our other panel. >> i just wanted to say a word with regard to the under 30 generation, and it ties into carl's point that 89% of the stimulus package has not yet been spent. and we need to think about how that gets used and i happen to -- one of the areas i've been most concerned about namely investment and basic research, i think the stimulus package has had a very positive impact to
date. the problem, it's a one-time shot. that's also the good news, hopefully it's a one-time shot. but i'd like to quote tom friedman as best i can, who made the statement that if after we spend a trillion dollars, that all's we get is new bridges, highways and airports, that we don't get any intels and microsofts and ebays and so on that our children will thank us for making it easier to get to the unemployment office. that's the point i'd like to hang on. we're not solving a short-term problem. the long-term problem is the killer. that one has to do with such things as education, investment and research, fixing the environment for innovation and so on. thank you. >> i was going to ask carla to say the last word. i do want to interrupt myself. i wanted to ask fred one question about this stimulus, the ratio.
you know, when the stimulus bill was being debated, i think john mccain and lindsey graham said they would go for a $450 billion stimulus and paul krugman in "the new york times" wrote and said it needs to be much larger and they settled at a number kind of in the middle. is there any kind of formula for how much you borrow when you have bad unemployment above which then it starts to drag down what you're trying to do because the debt is too big? is there a handy way for a layman to look at ha. >> oh, sure. oh, sure, and we're nowhere near it because the fear in excessive borrowing is that it will drive interest rates up and choke off investment, consumer demand and the economy as a whole. that has been, of course, totally countered by fed policy and interest rates are essentially zero. so we're a long way from where fiscal spending would crowd out private -- the private sector or hurt the economy in anything
like the short run. that's aside from building up a further fiscal difficulty for the long run. but in terms of the short run, we could have had five times, i suspect five times the fiscal package and not have pushed interest rates up because the federal reserve would have countered that with its monetary policy which incidentally is much more important than the fiscal package in terms of avoiding the worst that we could have suffered from the potential global depression of a year ago. >> okay. and for this panel, carla hills is going to have the last word and then we're going to have our second channel convene very quickly. thank you. carla. >> i same play wanted to underscore what david said about citizen education. people have to understand the real jeopardy our nation faces. citizen education has also got to affect the political leadership and in washington
from the top to the bottom, there is an unwillingness to take anything that sounds like sour medicine. i remember president ford, we had double-digit unemployment during his term. we had double-digit inflation. we had a severe recession, and he came in as an appointed president but he made it a top, key priority to try to pay as you go and to be sensible. he was handed an emergency housing bill that would have subsidized mortgages down to 6% for the entire middle class. he looked at it and i said i think it's the right approach but it's too broad. he vetoed it and sent it back. within a week he had a bill on his desk that was for the bottom two quintile and had a sunset provision of one year and when he left office, unemployment was way, way down, the inflation had
come down from double digits down to below 5%, and -- but you have to be disciplined and i think that the citizens have to say to their leaders we're not going to vote for you unless you're willing to be politically courageous and we haven't seen much courage lately. >> anyway, thank you very much, all of you. [ applause ] >> i have it in my notes and i may have it in here and i'll give it to you. >> this is your -- >> always a privilege to be with you.
i say that with no animosity to the palestinian people. i share your hopes and dreams. all i ask is you recognize that israel has a place on the planet. [applause] now, some of you may have come here tonight because of a recent dustup. are not going to get political and i'm not going to overly dwell on the recent conflict we have had. but let's say this, and let's say it loud and let's say it clear. friends disagree. that is part of being friends. they call it marriage. [laughter] the one thing that will make a strong friendship and a good marriage is to disagree quietly. [applause] so that those who wish you ill,
who do not have your common interest at heart, will not be empowered. ladies and gentlemen, howard said it best. jerusalem is not a settlement. [applause] no government in israel will ever look at jerusalem as a settlement. no government in the united states should ever look at jerusalem as a settlement. [applause] it is the undivided capital of the state of israel. it is the eternal home of the jewish faith. [applause] it is now time to move on to other issues. i want to talk very quickly about the world as we wish it to be, as we celebrate tonight. let's embrace in our hearts the world that we all wish it to be.
a world where there are no rockets from gaza, no hezbollah attacks from the north, where palestinian children go to school without being taught hate. that is the world we wish it to be. and iran controlled by its people, not some theocracy. and iran governed by someone other than a holocaust denier. that is the world we wish it to be. and iran pursuing peaceful nuclear power, not a nuclear weapon. a world where moderate muslims are celebrated, not condemned and killed. [applause] and afghanistan where a young girl never fears the soccer stadium but can go to school and achieve her dreams. [applause] a free and independent iraq, where sunnis, shia's and kurds can settle their differences at the ballot talks into the world of law and be an inspiration to the middle east. a u.n., a united nations that
can actually control thugs and dictators. [applause] a united nations that would never issue the goldstone report that is the world as we wish it to be. [applause] this is the world as it is. and if you don't know the difference, then the world is a dangerous place. i know the difference between the world as we wish it to be and the world as it is. the world as it is is a divided palestinian people, a place that allows rockets to be launched from apartment buildings, a place where mosques are weapons storage sites, it a place where schoolchildren are taught hate. that is the world as it is. iran at a fiat or see that kills its own children.
iran, a nation whose president questions whether or not the holocaust actually existed. that is the world as it is ladies and gentlemen. i have got one simple idea. if you are a nation that wants to pursue nuclear power, there should be an application and if the president of that nation denies the existence of the holocaust, that should be the end of the application process. [applause] the world as it is, russia and china, are awol when it comes to iran. it is important to have a good relationship with russia and china but it is equally important that russia and china help the world deal with the threat of nuclear-armed iran. that is the world as it is. ladies and gentlemen, here is the world as it must be. we must never allow anyone to
drive a wedge between the state of israel and the united states of america. [applause] it must be so. israel's right to exist must be at knowledge by every group and every corner of the world. that is the way the world must be. to move forward. [applause] we must not allow this iranian theocracy to develop a nuclear weapon.@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@ @ @ @ m
it takes the lives of people at the prime of their life and when you talk about war you should never talk about it with a smile on your face, but i do know this. that sometimes it is better to go to war than it is to allow the holocaust to develop a second time. [applause] it is not lost upon me what would happen if military force had to be used against iran. i hope and pray that is not the option that we have to seek. i hope and pray that other options will work. but, as ari indicated, time is
not on our side. here is the question for this group. is this the last aipac meeting before iran has ended we are weapon? 14 months from now we meet again. i don't know the answer to that question. but i do know this. time ladies and gentlemen is not on our side. it is not fair to put this ally of ours, the state of israel, its prime minister and its government on both sides of the aisle under the burden of having to deal with this issue alone. that is not good for the world. it is not good for israel. [applause] and i am often asked what a military strike as the last option be effective against the iranian nuclear threat? my belief is a military strike stopping the iranian government
from having a nuclear weapon is more effective than trying to deal with the iranian government after they have one. [applause] and, if military force is ever employed, it should be done in a decisive fashion. the iranian government's ability to wage conventional warfare against its neighbors and our troops in the region should not exist. they should not have one plane that can fly or one ship that can float. [applause] we have time, but time is not on our side. the u.n. security council has an opportunity to act and i hope and pray they do. russia and china have a chance to change the course of history. i hope they will understand a nuclear-armed iran is just as much a threat to them as it is to us or any other tolerant person or group. ladies and gentlemen these are consequential times.
this is a time to show determination and resolve in the face of extremism. we are at war as a nation. september 11, 2001 everything changed about our country. we are almost nine years down the road and some of us i think it got too short of a memory. we are at war and we have to fight this war within our values. khalid shake ahamed the mastermind of 9/11 should not in civilian court in new york city. [applause] if he is not an enemy combatant we are to millet terry commission trial who would be and i think a lot of democrats and republicans believe the pot. we are at war and we must win this war. we must be a true in iraq and we must get it right in afghanistan. president barack obama is my president. i am here to say tonight that i stand by him. i stood by him in afghanistan and i will stand by him as he
draws troops down in iraq in a responsible way and if it becomes necessary to use military force or any strong engagement tactic against iran i will stand by my president and i ask you to stand by him. [applause] i asked you to pray for him. i have a lot of differences with president obama that they can you imagine being president of the united states during these times? this man has a very hard job. we can have our fusses and we can have our fights and this week in health care we are going to have a hell of a fight. but when it comes to national security, no democrat in this room is my enemy. you are my opponent on the political battlefield, but you are my brother and you are my sister. we are all americans. [applause] [applause]
i can promise you one thing. that the people we fight in faraway places with strange sounding names can really care less the political differences between chuck schumer and lindsey graham. they hate us both equally. many of you may be that way. [laughter] but our enemy doesn't distinguish between our political differences. they hate us because we will accept differences. they hate us because we will allow in the streets of south carolina a mosque, a synagogue and a baptist church. that we will stand up for each other. [applause] they hate us more than they love life. ladies and gentlemen, people asked ronald reagan, how does
the cold war and? he said, we win, they lose. [applause] how does the war on terror and? we win, they lose. [applause] and, when i say we, i mean moderate muslims who have been slaughtered by al qaeda and islamic extremist. no group has suffered more than people in the muslim world trying to be tolerant, and by we i mean jewish and gentile's, buddhist, agnostic, vegetarians, you name it. i mean anybody that believes in tolerance and support for their fellow man. one last thought. this is 2010. and we are wondering what to do
with a country whose president denies the holocaust. we do what we have to do to make sure there is no second holocaust. [applause] ladies and gentlemen we gather tonight with one simple message. and never let it be misunderstood by the enemies that we commonly faced. our message tonight to the world , to the people in israel, to the young men and women serving overseas on our behalf, never again. [applause] god bless you, god lest the people of israel, god lets the united states, god bless all those who believe in peace and tolerance.
♪ >> ladies and gentlemen please welcome aipac national ward member, bob kohr. ♪ steve friends, take your seats. wherever congress can effect the u.s. israel relationship, the senior senator from new york is never far away. throughout his 11 year tenure in the senate, and before that in his 18 years as a house member
from brooklyn, senator charles schumer has advanced the u.s. israel alliance in countless ways by introducing and passing legislation, cosponsoring bills, drafting letters, soliciting votes, speaking on the senate floor and much, much more. navigating bills through the senate is no easy task these days, as everyone here knows. with senator schumer's leadership in the past year critical iran sanctions, legislation made it out of the senate banking committee where he sits. but he did not stop there. he insisted on adding an amendment that penalizes companies that provide the iranian government with internet jamming equipment. this provision makes it more difficult for the iranian regime to crack down on its citizens.
then, as the number three democrat in the senate leadership, he worked closely with majority leader harry reid to get the iran sanctions bill to the floor and secure its passage. as for u.s. security assistance to israel, senator schumer has consistently made sure that aid to israel passed the senate and became law. in addition, he has spoken out to both republican and democratic presidents, urging them to adhere to the negotiating principles that have led to arab-israeli peace treaties in the past. and, he has told saudi officials right here in washington that are or 62 years of isolating israel, now is the time to recognize the jewish state and welcome it as a neighbor in the middle east. [applause]
and finally, senator schumer, along with republican senator lindsey graham, has taken the lead and circulating a senate letter urging president obama to immediately impose tough, meaningful sanctions against iran. tomorrow, when we head to capitol hill, we will ask the rest of the senate to sign on. [applause] it is clear that senator schumer cares deeply about the issues that matter to us most, and is uniquely positioned to advance those issues in the u.s. congress. please join me in welcoming a longtime champion of the u.s. israel relationship, my friend, our friend, senator charles schumer. ♪
[applause] >> thank you bob cohen. thank you for being here. you are all great friends of israel. and i am proud to add bob, you are a great friend of mine. i also want to thank howard kohr who i heard gave a great speech this morning. one of his many talents. mr. curds for the hard work that helps make aipac just about the most effective political organization in america. thank you. now it is an honor to be here tonight. i want to extend a warm welcome
to everyone, but particularly the 700 new new yorkers and attendants. new york, thank you. [applause] the 1200 students from 360 schools, 125 from new york and thank you for showing your support for the state of israel. i also want to acknowledge the next speaker. i am just sort of the warm-up act for the prime minister, bibi netanyahu. [applause] let me tell you a little story about vb. back, which shows his passion, shows him. back in the late 1980s when he was israeli ambassador and i was in the congress, he came to our place for dinner. my wife it together a wonderful spread for a local gathering.
everywhere. our drapes were soaked. there was soda everywhere. it cost us $1800 to cleanup the mess. [laughter] $1800, so bibi, as my wife is always reminding me, you os $1800. we will accept personal checks or shackles. now ladies and gentlemen, you are at a crucial time here in israel's history and you know we say that every year. but every year it is true. such is the nature of israel's constant struggle for survival. it shouldn't have to be after all these years, but it is. in just the past two weeks israel has seen an alarming violence arise over tensions in east jerusalem, rockets from
gaza continuing to shower they wrote, another declaration of iran's aggressive nuclear ambitions, internal political disagreements, criticism from the international community and that ladies and gentlemen is just two weeks in the life of israel. the only nation in the world whose every action, every statement, every policy is magnified, is sliced, is diced and held to a verified standard of perfection. israel we all know is not perfect, but is any elected official will tell you in this modern world, when you strive to do the right thing, you open yourself up too much more criticism than if you don't even consider doing the right thing in the first place. to many, far too many in the media would rather put-- criticize israel for the 5% it
does wrong then turn its focus to the failings of the palestinian community and government. because expectations there are so low. it is unfair, it is wrong, but as we know that is the world is real lives and we live in. we have to live with it. sure, like every other country israel has its imperfections that we all too often take are granted the fact that israel is in so many ways a remarkable and resilient country, a realization of the vision of isaiah, a light unto the nations. it is the light of democracy that has maintained its core principles in the face of 62 years of war, conflict and daily, daily aggression from its neighbors. like america, freedom of speech and assembly and press are embedded in the fabric of israel society and these are just a few of the values that hold our two countries so close.
it is the light of a jewish homeland that is providing refugee to millions of immigrants huddled masses from europe, north africa, the middle east, the former soviet union, ethiopia and beyond. it is the light of innovation, a nation whose 5 million citizens have given the world countless life-changing technological and medical advances and who have been awarded nine nobel prizes in the process. [applause] it is the light of humanitarianism, a nation that is provided 140 countries in the world, small little israel. whenever there is a crisis you see her men and women helping those who are afflicted. in haiti, row on the india, turkey el salvador, ethiopia and bosnia. it is the light of civil liberties, a nation where minorities are protected under the law by fair and independent
judicial system, nations whose parliament the knesset sits on a hilltop is like america's capitol hill and has 13 current arab members. it is a light of a nation desperately seeking peace that it has wanted and not found since its beginning. yes, israel is a remarkable and resilient country but of course it faces grave challenges every year. challenges it cannot and must not face alone. today the number one challenge as mentioned by my friend and colleague lindsey graham, the challenge of a nuclear iran. let me tell you a brief story. it is another one involving the prime minister. last september prime minister netanyahu came to capitol hill and met with the joint leadership, democrat and republican, senate and the house, to talk about iran. he described the existential
threat posed by a nuclear iran to israel. he told us that the iranian government or bites the training, the weapons come a day funds that sustain hezbollah and hamas. he showed us they wanted nothing less than to dominate the middle east. he told us that israel had a mortal fear of a nuclear-armed iran and that everything, everything must be done to prevent that from happening. a lot of people around the table understood the prime minister's concerns, but question his sense of urgency. well, what is the rush they said. let's be careful here. iran, they are just saber rattling. don't worry, nothing bad will happen. let's just continue these diplomatic talks. as the chorus grew louder i watch the look on the prime minister. as he grew more and more uneasy,
his face tightened. so, i spoke up. i said to my colleagues, of course the vast majority who were not jewish, why those of us who want to avoid a nuclear iran are so passionate about at the now. i told them that there were many in america in the 30s, and many of whom were in positions of influence, some of whom were in congress. hitler was a rising danger. his hatred of the jewish people was well-known. he had even detailed imprint his plan to annihilate the jewish people. but too many people in the american establishment said, be careful, hitler is just saber rattling. just rhetoric. don't worry, nothing bad will happen. unfortunately, to our shame, the american jewish community largely sat back in the 30s.
the establishment's argument, don't worry, nothing bad will happen, one out. even saul bloom, a leading jewish congressman, senior member of the house foreign affairs committee, helped tamp down the fears. and of course, we paid the worse price any people could pay. 6 million of our brethren, 1 million of our children murdered in cold blood. and ever since then, the jewish people have vowed never, never again. [applause] the current president of iran, his analogies, the analogies to the 30s are stunning. he too denies the very existence of the holocaust. co-he denies the murder of 6 million of our brethren. he wants nothing more than to
see the homeland of the jewish people wiped off the planet. this is not just isolated, crazy talk. this is venomous hate speech from a head of state who seeks to transform iran into the dominant, military force in the whole middle east. when there are fears and plausible scenarios with the jewish people could he in mortal danger, we must never repeat the complacency of the 30s. we must never, never again-- i told my colleagues, that is what motivates prime minister netanyahu. i told them it is what motivates me. and it the end of the speech, bibi came over and hugged me and said thank you.
ladies and gentlemen, we cannot, we must not, we will not allow iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. we cannot, we must not, we will not turn a blind eye as they ran builds clandestine nuclear reactors and rejects all deals to limit uranium enrichment and thumbs its nose at the iaea. can we really call this saber rattling? when they are on the edge of developing the most awesome and deadly weapons mankind has ever known? diplomatic efforts have failed. we are too close to simply continue those efforts. [applause] i believe that when it comes to iran we should never take the military option off the table but i have long argued that economic sanctions can write now be the best way to choke iran's nuclear ambitions.
it is important to remember this about iran. at it is not a stable country. in many ways it is like a triangle, perched on a point. it's people like democracy. they like america. they are western. do you know what the most popular television show is in iran and the young people get american and western television because they hide their antennas in their air-conditioner ducks and the regime can stop them. the most popular show is not al-jazeera. it is not even cnn. it is "american idol." no accounting for taste. [laughter] the iranian people crave economic advancement or than anything else. they are not a poor country but a middle-class country. the average income in iraq,
$2600, average and i ran a thousand dollars. if the iranian people are prevented from seeing economic progress, they are far more like me to take to the streets in an attempt to throw off the yoke of this oppressive, brutal governing regime. some sanctions should be imposed multilaterally. we have a better chance to do that. president sarkozy, who as you know was part jewish, chancellor merkel are much more focused on the iranian threat than the predecessor sure rock and schroeder who did nothing. but russia and china both unc dirty councils with veto power constantly drag their feet. china, one of the biggest investors in iran's energy your, $80 billion has a particularly strong interest in delaying sanctions. that is why once and for all the
u.s. must hit iran first on our own with unilateral sanctions, no matter what the other nations of the world do, and we cannot wait. we must push those sanctions now. there is no time to wait. iran is on the verge of becoming nuclear and we cannot and must not afford that. [applause] both the senate and the house have put together strong bipartisan sanction packages that will send a clear message to iran and the world community, that america means business. a centerpiece of this legislation is the iran refined petroleum sanctions act sponsored by senators lieberman, kyl, bayh and myself. although iran is replete with oil as you know, they have trouble refining it. they import 45% of their gasoline.
the iranian people have a lot of cars. they want and need gasoline. our bill says that any country that exports gasoline to iran or helps them refine, helps them refine their own is barred from doing any business with the united states, no gifts, and sort lutz. already, european oil companies that traffic with iran are beginning to pull out. even before legislation is passed. so several months ago we push to get this rod senate package which includes a petroleum bill and many tough provisions marked up by the banking committee. then we push to get it to the floor. things move very slowly in the senate these days. but, we told majority leader reid that the iranian threat is an issue that demands fast action and much to his credit he heeded the call. he moved this legislation to the floor and on january 28 of the comprehensive iran sanctions
accountability and divestment act passed the senate unanimously. [applause] now we are in the process of reconciling the senate and house versions of the legislation so we can get this bill under-- on the president's desk and the minute the president signed that we should not carry. he must put the sanctions into effect immediately. we cannot wait.@@@@@@@ @ @ @ @ will send a bipartisan letter to president obama emerging immediate implementation of the comprehensive iran sanctions legislation when it becomes law including the sanctions on countries that export gasoline to iran. we cannot afford to wait for russia or china. when you meet with your senators tomorrow, which i know you're doing, please ask every one of them to stand with israel, to stand with world peace, to stand against a nuclear iran and co-sign our letter to the president.
[applause] now i know that iran is israel's number one focus. but of course there are many other issues before us. iran is israel's number one focus. but of course there are many other issues before us. like you, i am deeply concerned about the security of air it is real. a majority of israelis want peace and a two-state solution. prime minister netanyahu wants peace, and a two-state solution. aipac wants peace and a two-state solution. i want peace and they two-state solution. now there are a lot of people of goodwill in europe and here in the united states that have the attitude, g whiz, if only we
could get the israelis and palestinians to the table. if only we could get them to sit down and discuss the matters rationally and calmly, of course there would be peace. that unfortunately is wishful thinking. that unfortunately, is not the case. the gee whiz geewhiz people ignore sad but singular truth that we must constantly remind our friends, to this day, too many arabs and to many palestinians do not relieve there should be a jewish state in the middle east. let me repeat that are cut too many arabs and to many palestinians do not believe there should be any jewish state in the middle east. their view goes as follows. they say, western europeans treated the badly for centuries.
all europeans treated the jewish badly for centuries. anti-semitism was a very real problem culminating in the horror of the holocaust but it was europe's problem, not ours. and yet as we recompense the palestinians, and many of the arabs say the western europeans gave the jews our land. of course this view ignores the jewish people's long and continuing ties to the land of israel but that is their view and we have to remember it. they deny israel's legitimacy, but they know as long as the bond between the u.s. and israel is unbreakable, there will always be a strong secure jewish state in the middle east and so they work diligently and very cleverly at weakening that bond. they seek to drive a wedge between the u.s. and israel because doing so will delay that day when they have to sit down
and talk seriously about peace. it is very important that we make clear, we as a nation, and make clear to israel and indeed the entire world, that despite our differences, such as those to wade all to publicly last week, that nothing will ever divide israel and america. [applause] the bond, the bond between the u.s. and israel will be maintained, regardless of the ups and downs of the peace process. regardless of the internal israeli politics. the bond we must remind particularly the arab world. between the u.s. and israel is immutable and unbreakable. through good times and the bad, there is one other immutable. that his is you, aipac. aipac is stronger and more effective than ever. that is a very high are your to
exceed that every year you exceeded just as this dinner has a record number of people. aipac knows what to do, and his unrelenting and making sure israel is protected. for that, i thank you all 7800 of you and i applaud you. [applause] now let me close by telling you about my name. as some of you know, my name is a hebrew word. schumer comes from the hebrew word which means guardian. watchmen. my ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall of alicia and when they came to ellis island bay said their name india dish. and it got written down as schumer. to you i say this. that name was given to me for a
reason. for as long as i live, for as long as i have the privilege of serving in the senate from new york, i will unflinchingly, unstintingly and with all of my strength beef show me her, a guardian of israel. ladies and gentlemen, in israel and america the jewish nation lives now and forever. thank you. [applause] ♪ ♪
i saw a number of them backstage before coming out and i can assure you that i received a lot of advice. i know i always do when i see my friends from aipac. and i want to thank lee rosenberg for that introduction and congratulations, rosie, you're going to be a terrific president. [applause] i also want to thank david victor and howard kohr and lonny kaplan nd j.b. pritzker and howard friedman and ester kurz and richard fishman and i better stop, but all at aipac's yours and staff for your leadership and hard work. and i'm very pleased that you will be hearing from a good friend of mine, congressman jim langevin, a great champion for israel. [applause] let's hear it for jim. [applause] and to all of you, all at aipac
members, thank you once again for your example of citizen activism, petitioning your governments, expressing your views, speaking up in the arena. this is what democracy is all about. [applause] and i am particularly pleased to see again that there's so many young people here. [cheers and applause] you recognize that your future and the future of our country are bound up with the future of israel. [applause] and your engagement today will help to make that future more secure. given the shared challenges we face, the relationship between
the united states and israel has never been more important. the united states -- [applause] has long recognized that a strong and secure israel is vital to our own strategic interest. [applause] and we know that the forces that threaten israel also threatened the united states of america. [applause] [applause] and therefore, we firmly believe that when we strengthen israel's security, we strengthen america's security.
[applause] so from its first day, the obama administration has worked to promote israel's security and long-term success. and if you ever doubt the resolve of president obama to stay with the job, look at what we got done for the united states last night when it came to pass in quality affordable health care for everyone. [cheers and applause] and we know that as vice president biden said in israel recently, to make progress in this region, there must be no gap between the united states and israel on security. [applause] and let me assure you as i have
assured you on previous occasions with large groups like this and small intimate setting, for president obama and for me and for this entire administration, our commitment to israel's security and israel's future is rock solid unwavering, injuring and forever. [cheers and applause] and why is that? why is that? is it because aipac campus 7500 people into a room in the convention center? i don't think so. is it because some of the most active american and politics who care about our government also care about israel? that's not the explanation.
our country and our peopleare bound together by our shared values of freedom, equality, democracy, the right to live free from fear and our common aspiration for a future of peace, security and prosperity, where we can see our children and our children's children should we be so lucky end of the future mother of the bride and certainly hoping for that. [applause] to see those children, those generations,, page and peace for the opportunity fulfill their own god-given potential. americans under israel as a homeland for a people to long
oppressed and a democracy that has had to defend itself at every turn. adrian nurtured for generations and made real by men and women who refused to bow to the toughest about. and israel's story, we see our own. we see in fact the story of all peoples who struggle for freedom and the right to chart their own destinies. that's why it took president harry truman only about a minute to recognize the new nation of israel. not mac and ever since our two countries have stood in solidarity, so guaranteeing israel's security is more than a policy position for me.
it is a personal commitment that will never waiver. [applause] since my first visit to israel nearly 30 years ago, i have returned many times and made many friends. i've had the privilege of working with some of israel's great leaders and have benefited from their wise counsel. i may have even caused some of them consternation. i don't think rabin ever forgave me for banishing him to the white house balcony when he wanted to smoke and over the years, i have shared your pride in seeing the desert bloom and the economy thrive and the country flourish. but i have also seen the
struggles and the sorrows. i have met with the victims of terrorism in their hospital rooms. i've held their hands. i've listened to the doctors describe how much shrapnel was left in a leg, an arm, or a head. a leg, an arm or a head. i sat there and listened to the heart rending words that prime minister rabin's daughter, noelle, spoke at her grandfather's funeral. i went to a bombed out pizzeria in jerusalem. i seen the looks on the faces of israeli families who knew a rocket could fall at any moment. on one of my visits in 2002, i
met a young mann named joe hae frerotte. he was only 26, but he was already a senior medic with mda and he oversaw probe and to train foreign volunteers as first responders in israel. i attended the program's graduation ceremony and i saw the pride in his face as yet another group of young people set off to do good and save lives. i was also a reservist with the idea. in and a week after we met, he was killed by a sniper near a road block along with other soldiers and civilians. mda renamed the overseas volunteer program in his memory and it has continued to
flourish. when i was there in 2005, i met with his family. his parents were committed to continuing support mda and its mission and suicide. that's why i spent years urging the international red cross, introducing legislation, rounding up votes to send a message to geneva to admit mda as a full voting member. and finally, with your help in 2006, we succeeded in writing that wrong. [applause] [cheers and applause] as a senator from new york, i was proud to be a strong voice for israel and the congress and around the world. and i am proud that i can continue to be that strong voice as secretary of state. last fall, i stood next to prime
minister netanyahu in jerusalem and praised his government's decision to place a moratorium on new residential construction in the west bank. and then, i praised it again in cairo and in marrakesh and in many places far from jerusalem to make clear that this was a first step, but it was an important first step. and yet, i underscored the long-standing american policy that does not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement. as israel's friend, it is our responsibility to give credit when it is due in to tell the truth when it is needed. in 2008, i told this conference that barack obama would be a good friend to israel as president, that he would have a special appreciation of israel because of his own personal history, a grandfather who flout
the nazis in patton's army. a great uncle who helped liberate buchenwald. president obama and his family who have lived the diaspora experience. and as he told you himself, he understands that there is always a homeland at the center of our story. as a senator, he visited israel and met families whose houses were destroyed by rocket. and as president, he has supported israel and word and in deed. under president obama's leadership, we have reinvigorated defense consultations, bedeviled our efforts to ensure israel's qualitative military edge and provided nearly $3 billion in annual military assistance. in fact -- are
[applause] as rosie told you, or maybe it was howard, that assistance increased in 2010 and we have requested another increase for 2011. [applause] and something else i want you to know, more than 1000 united states troops participated in juniper cobra ballistic missile defense exercises last fall, the largest such drill ever held. not [applause] president obama has made achieving peace and recognized secure borders for israel a top administration priority. the united states has also led the fight in international and effusions against anti-semitism and efforts to challenge israel's legitimacy.
we did break the boycott of the turbine conference and we repeatedly voted against the deeply flawed goldstone reports. [laughter] [applause] this administration will always stand up for israel's right to defend itself. [applause] and for israel, there is no greater strategic threat than the prospect of a nuclear armed iran. [applause] elements and iran's government has become a menace both to their own people and in the
region. iran's president soulman anti-semitism denies the holocaust, threatens to destroy israel, even denies that 9/11 was an attack. the iranian leadership funds and arms terrorists who had murdered americans, israelis and other innocent people alike. and it has waged a campaign of intimidation and persecution against the iranian people. last june, iranians marching silently were beaten with batons. political prisoners were rounded up and abused, absurd and false allegations and accusations were leveled against the united states, israel and the west. people everywhere were horrified at the video of a young woman shot dead in the street.
the iranian leadership denies its people rise that are universal to all human beings, including the right to speak freely, to assemble without fear, the right to the equal administration of justice, to express your views without facing retribution. in addition to threatening israel, a nuclear armed iran would embolden its terrorist clientele and would spark an arms race that could be stabilized the region. this is unacceptable. it is unacceptable to the united states. it is unacceptable to israel. it is unacceptable to the region and the international community. so let me be very clear. the united states is determined to prevent iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
[applause] now, for most of the past decade, the united states, as you know, declined to engage with iran. and iran grew more, not less, dangerous. it built thousands of centrifuges and spurned the international community. but it faced few consequences. president obama has been trying a different course, designed to present iran's leaders with a clear choice. we've made extensive efforts to reengage with iran, both through direct indication and working with other partners multilaterally, to send an
unmistakable message: upload your international obligations. and if you do, you will read the of normal relations. if you do not, you will face increased isolation and painful consequences. we took this course with the understanding that the very effort of speaking engagement with strength and our hand if iran rejected our initiative. and over the last year, iran's leaders have been stripped of their usual excuses. the world has seen that it is iran, not the united states, responsible for the impasse. with its secret nuclear facility, increasing violations of its obligations under the nonproliferation regime and an unjustified expansion of its enrichment activities, more and more nations are finally expressing deep concerns about
iran's intentions. and there was a growing international consensus on taking steps to pressure iran's leaders to change course. europe is in agreement. russia, where he just returned from, has moved definitely in this direction. and although there is still work to be done, china has said it supports the dual track approach of applying pressure is engagement does not produce results. the stronger consensus has also led to increased cooperation on stopping arms shipments and financial transactions that a terrorist, threaten israel and destabilize the region. we are now working with our partners in the united nation on new security council sanctions that will show iran's leaders that there are real consequences
for their intransigence, debt they are choices to live up to their international obligation. our aim is not incremental sanctions, the sanctions that will bite. it is taking time to produce the sanctions, and we believe that time is a worthwhile investment for winning the broadest possible support or our efforts. though we will not compromise our commitment to preventing iran from acquiring these nuclear weapons. [applause] but, iran is not the only threat on the horizon. israel today is confronting some
of the toughest challenges in her history. the conflict with the palestinians and israel's arab neighbors is an obstacle to prosperity and opportunity for israelis, palestinians and people across the region. but it also threatens israel's long-term future as a secure and democratic jewish state. the status quo is unsustainable for all sides. it promises only more violent and unrealized aspirations. stan underscores means continuing a conflict that carries tragic human cost. israeli and palestinian children a leg deserves to grow up free from fear and to have that same opportunity to live up to their
there is another path. a path that leads toward security and pros parity for all the people of the region. but it will require all parties, including israel, to make difficult, but necessary choices. both sides must confront the reality that the status quo to have last decade has not -- of the last decade has not produced security to serve their interests, nor has it served the interests of the united states. it is true that height nlt security measures have reduced the number of suicide bombings and given some protection and safety to those who worry every day when their child goes to school, their husband goes to work, their mother goes to market. and there is, i think, a belief
among many that the status quo can be sustained, but the dynamic of demography, ideology and technology make this impossible. impossible. first, we cannot ignore the long-term population trends that result from the israeli occupation. as defense minister barak and others have observed, the the inexorable of demography are hastening the hour at which israelis may have to choose between preserving their democracy in staying true to the dream of a jewish homeland. given this reality, these two
state solution is the only viable path for israel to remain both a democracy and a jewish state. [applause] second, we cannot be blind to the political implication of continued conflict. there is today truly a struggle, maybe for the first time between those in the region who accept peace and joy distance with israel and those who reject it and seek only to continue violent. the status quo strengthens the rejection of who claimed peace is impossible and it weakens those who would expect
coexistence. that does not serve israel's interests are our own. those willing to negotiate me to be a lot to show results for their effort. and those who preach violence must be proven wrong. all of our regional challenges, confronting the threat posed by a brand, combating violent extremism, promoting democracy and economic opportunity become harder if the rejection is grow in power and influence. conversely, a two state solution would allows israel's contribution to the world into our greater humanity to get the recognition they deserve. it would also allow the palestinian to have to govern, to realize their legitimate aspirations and it would undermine the appeal of extremism across the region. i was very privileged as first lady to travel the world on
behalf of our country. i went from latin america to southeast asia. and during the 1990's, it was rare that people in places far from the middle east ever mentioned the israeli-palestinian conflict. now when i started traveling a secretary of state and i went to places that were so far from the middle east, it was the first, second or third issue that countries raised. we cannot escape the impact of mass communication. we cannot control the images and the messages that are conveyed. we can only change the fact on the ground that refute the claims of the rejection if an
extremist. and in doing so create the circumstances for a safe secure future for israel. and then finally, we must recognize that the ever evolving technology of war is making it harder to guarantee israel's security. for six decades, israelis have guarded their borders diligently , but advances in rocket technology mean that israeli families are now at risk far from those borders, despite efforts at containment, rockets with better guidance system, longer range and more destructive power are spreading across the region. hezbollah has tens of thousands of rockets on israel's northern border. hamas has a substantial number in golf.
and even if some of these are still crude, they all pose a serious danger as we saw again last week. .. they do not earn a place at any table absent those changes. [applause] and i will repeat today what i have said many times before. he must be released immediately and returned to his family. [applause]
unfortunately, neither military action nor restricting access into and out of gaza has significantly stemmed the flow of rockets to hamas. they appear content to add to their stockpile and grow rich off the tunnel trade, while the people of gaza fall deeper into poverty and despair. that is also not a sustainable position for either israelis or palestinians. behind these terrorist organizations and their rockets, we see the destabilizing influence of iran.
in the face of these unforgiving dynamics, of demography, ideology and technology, it becomes impossible to entrust our hopes for israel's future in today's status quo. its challenges cannot be ignored or wished away. only by choosing a new path, can israel make the progress it deserves to ensure that their children are able to see a future of peace and only by having a partner willing to participate with them, will the palestinians be able to see the same future. now there is for many of us, a clear goal. goal, two states were two
people living side-by-side in peace and security. with peace between israel and syria and israel and lebanon. and normal relations between israel and all the arab states. [applause] a comprehensive peace. [applause] that is real, not a slogan that is rooted in genuine recognition of israel's right to exist in peace and security and that offers the best way to ensure israel's enduring survival and well-being. that is the goal that the obama administration is determined to help israel and the palestinians achieve. george mitchell has worked tirelessly with the parties to prepare the ground for the resumption of direct negotiations, beginning with the
proximity talks, though the sides have accepted. these proximity talks are a hopeful first step and they should you serious and substantive. but ultimately of course, it will take direct negotiations between the parties to work through all the issues and end the conflict. the united states stand ready to play an active and sustained role in these talks, and to support the parties as they work to resolve permanent status issues, including security, borders, refugees and jerusalem. the united states knows we cannot force a solution. we cannot ordain or command the outcome. the parties themselves must resolve their differences, but we believe-- [applause] we believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree to an outcome
which ends the conflict and reconciles the palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 67 lines with agreed swaps and israel's goal of a jewish state with the care and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet israel's security requirements. [applause] the united states recognizes that jerusalem, jerusalem is a deeply, profoundly important issue. for israelis and palestinians, for jewish, muslims and christians. we believe that through good faith negotiations, the parties can mutually agree upon an outcome that realizes the aspirations of both parties for jerusalem and safeguards it status for people around the world.
but for negotiations to be successful, they must be built on a foundation of mutual trust and confidence. that is why both israelis and palestinians must refrain from unilateral statements and actions that undermine the process or prejudice the outcome of talks. when a hamas controlled municipality glorifies violence and renames ace where after a terrorist who murdered innocent israelis, it insults the families on both sides who have lost loved ones over the years in this conflict. [applause] and, when instigators deliberately mischaracterized the rededication of a synagogue in the jewish quarter of jerusalem's old city and call upon their brethren to defend nearby muslim holy sites from so-called attacks, it is purely
and simply an active incitements. [applause] these provocations are wrong and must be condemned for needlessly inflaming tensions and imperiling prospects for a comprehensive peace. it is our devotion to this outcome, two states for two peoples, secure and at peace, that led us to condemn the announcement of plans for new construction in east jerusalem. this was not about wounded pride nor is it a judgment on the final status of jerusalem, which is an issue to be settled at the negotiating table. this is about getting to the table, creating and protecting an atmosphere of trust around it and staying there until the job is finally done. [applause] new construction in east jerusalem or the west bank undermines that niche will trust
and endangers the proximity talks that are the first step towards a full negotiations that those sides say they want and need. and it exposes daylight between israel and the united states that others in the region hope to exploit. it undermines america's unique ability to play a role, an essential role in the peace process. our credibility in this process depends in part on our willingness to praise both sides when they are courageous and when we don't agree to say so and say so unequivocally. we objected to this announcement because we are committed to israel and its security, which we believe depends on a comprehensive peace, because we are determined to keep moving forward along the path that ensures israel's future as a secure and democratic jewish state living in peace with its palestinian and arab leaders.
and, because we do not want to see the progress that has been made in any way endangered. prime minister netanyahu and i sp the prime minister responded with specific actions israel is prepared to take towards this end and we discussed a range of other mutual confidence-building measures. we continued this discussion over the weekend and in his meeting with president abbas today. we are making it possible for these proximity talks to move ahead. i will be meeting with president netanyahu later today and president obama will meet with him tomorrow. [applause] we will follow up on these discussions and seek a common understanding about the most productive way forward. neither our commitments nor our goal has changed.
the united states will encourage the party to advance the prospects for peace. we commend the government of president abbas for the forums they have undertaken to strengthen law and order and the progress they have made in improving the quality of life in the west bank. that we encourage them to redouble their efforts to put an end to incitement and violence, continue to ensure security and the rule of law and ingrain a culture of peace and tolerance among palestinians. [applause] we applaud israel's neighbors for their support of the arab peace initiative and the proximity talks, but their rhetoric must now be backed up by action. they should make it easier to pursue negotiations and agreement. that is their responsibility.
and we commend prime minister netanyahu for embracing the invasion and acting to lift road blocks and ease movement through the west bank and we continue to expect israel to take those concrete steps that will help turn that vision into a reality, build momentum, comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the palestinians, stopping settlement activity and addressing the humanitarian crisis in gaza. from the time of david ben-gurion, who accepted the u.n. proposal to divide the land into two nations, israel and palestine, leaders like begin and rabin and sharon and others have made difficult but clear eyed choices to pursue peace in the name of israel's future. it was rabin who said for israel, there is no path that is without paying. but the path of peace is
preferable to the path of war. and last june at our élan university prime minister netanyahu put his country on the path to peace. resident abbas has put the palestinians on that path as well. the challenge will be to keep moving forward, tuesday what will be a difficult course. piece does bring with it a future of promise and possibility. ultimately that is the vision that drives us in that has driven leaders of israel going back to the very beginning. a future free from the shackles of conflict, families no longer afraid of rockets in the night, israelis traveling and trading freely in the region, palestinians able to chart their own futures, former adversaries working together on issues of common concern like water common infrastructure and development
that builds broadly shared prosperity. and a global strategic partnership between israel and the united states to tap the talent and innovation of both of our societies, comes up with solutions to problems of the 21st century from addressing climate change and energy to hunger, poverty and disease. israel is already on the cutting edge. look at the spread of high-tech startups, the influx of venture capital, the number of nobel laureates. israel is already a force to be reckoned with. imagine what it's leadership could be on the world stage if the conflict would be behind it. we are already working as partners. there is so much more we could achieve together. we are entering a season of passover. this story of moses resonates for people of all faiths. and it teaches us many lessons, including that we must take risks, even a leap of faith to
reach the promised land. when moses urged they choose to follow him out of egypt, many objected. they said it was too dangerous, too hard, too risky. and later in the desert, some thought it would be better to return to egypt. it was too dangerous, too hard, too risky. in fact they formed a back to egypt committee to try to stir up support for that. and when they came to the very edge of the promised land, there were still some who refuse to enter because it was too dangerous, too hard and too risky. but, it israel's history is the story of brave men and women, who took risks. they did the hard thing. because they believed they knew it was right.
we know that this dream was championed by hurts all and others that many said was impossible. and then the pioneers, can you imagine the conversation, telling your mother and father i am going to go to the desert and people thinking, how could that ever happen? but it did. warriors, who were so gallant in battle, but then offered their adversaries a hand of peace because they thought it would make their beloved israel stronger. israel and the generations that have come have understood that the strongest among us is often the one who turns an enemy into a friend. israel has shed more than its share of bitter tears.
but, for that dream to survive, for the state to flourish, this generation of israelis must also take up the tradition and do what seems to dangerous, too hard and too risky. and of this, they can be absolutely sure, the united states and the american people will stand with you. we will share the risks and we will shoulder the burdens as we face the future together. [captions copyright national
[applause] and the prime minister's wife, sarah netanyahu. [applause] now, while sarah and the prime minister obviously have accomplished a great deal in their lives, perhaps the honor most part of this evening is the one recently bestowed upon their son. he one israel's prestigious national bible competition. [applause] this was quite an accomplishment and quite a distinction, so congratulations to him and to his proud parents.
[applause] in his long and distinguished career, the israeli prime minister, benjamin netanyahu, has confronted the challenges facing the jewish state with courage, with passion and with moral clarity. as u.n. ambassador, foreign minister, opposition leader, and now in his second term as prime minister, he has been pursuing peace, security and economic growth for his country throughout nearly 30 years of public life. for decades he has warned the world about the threat of terrorism and radical islam. he has long recognized the danger of a nuclear-armed iran not just to israel but to the entire world and he has been among the most prominent voices
combating the international campaign that delegitimizes israel. today from the prime minister's office benjamin netanyahu is continuing to sound the alarm about all of these things. yet even as he traveled the world warning of the threats facing israel, he has refused to abandon his quest for peace, and he has never relented from his desire to improve both the israeli and palestinian economies. it is with these goals of peace and prosperity in mind that he has taken a number of bold steps in the past year. last summer he declared support for a demilitarized palestinian state alongside the jewish state of israel. [applause] now i will quote him here.
in my vision of peace in this small land of ours, to people live freely side by side in amity and mutual respect. a few months later, netanyahu took another bold and unprecedented step. he declared a ten month moratorium on all is really construction in the bank's. and while the palestinian authority still refuses to enter into direct talks with him, he has nevertheless taken steps to make daily life easier for palestinians by removing nearly 200 checkpoints and roadblocks in the past year. [applause] insisting on security while pursuing durable peace this has been his goal in the past and remains his guiding principle as israel head of government today. mr. prime minister, on behalf of
the 8,000 people in the room for tonight's aipac banquet i want to express my appreciation for the leadership you are demonstrating in the quest for peace and the we've consistently sounded the alarm about the threat of iran's nuclear program. we want you to know that we will do everything we can to ensure that the u.s. israel alliance remains on breakable forever. [applause] ladies and gentlemen, please welcome -- please join me in welcoming the prime minister of israel, the honorable benjamin netanyahu